Hustle Belt, for Mid-American Conference fans
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It's time to revisit the standings for the inaugural Hustle Belt Awards.
The Cardinals won the first fight in a three-fight series that will ultimately determine the MAC West leader.
Jordan Lynch leads the list of names, bringing home his third honor of the season, but not to be outdone, Bowling Green takes home its fourth Offensive Player of the Week honor of the year, this time with a different name getting the nod.
MACtion gets down to some serious bidness. Ball State leads the West with a win over Toledo.
Dri Archer was superb in his first full game of the season and Trayion Durham was a monster as the Kent State Golden Flashes looked like the defending MAC East Champions on Saturday night in a dominant win over the sinking Broncos.
Despite a woeful first few weeks for the Mid-American Conference, experts have six MAC teams playing in the postseason in these updated bowl projections.
A year removed from crashing the BCS, NIU is climbing up the rankings much quicker this season.
The Wolfpack tacked on 28 points in the second quarter and, well, you all know the rest.
NIU remains the king, but Cardinals leap-frog Falcons, Bobcats slip, and Rockets take a slight slide.
Miami is awful but Saturday for a brief time, it managed to look a little less awful.
In Kent St.'s win over Western Michigan, Dri Archer showed why many considered him the best player in the MAC heading into this season.
The Huskies pulled off the great train robbery, derailing Purdue's homecoming festivities with a 55-24 blowout en-rout to MAC first!
Akron is getting very good at teasing that first win. They did it in close losses to Michigan and Louisiana, and today at Bowling Green, they jumped to an early double-digit lead. Sadly for the Zips, it was a mirage, and their losing streak against FBS schools continues to grow.
And there's the Kent State team we all know and love!
In Dri Archer's first "full" game back, the Golden Flashes looked like the defending MAC East Champions in a 32-14 curb stomping over the Western Michigan Broncos. While Archer was on and off the field all night, and only finished with 10 touches, he offered the speedy, elusive look Kent State had been missing all season.
Archer himself finished with 121 yards (73 rushing, 48 receiving) and had a 31 yard touchdown catch, which the resulting 2-point conversion being the "game-winner". The thunder to his lightning, Trayion Durham, had himself a game as well, rushing for 154 yards on 26 carries and 2 touchdowns. Colin Reardon had a good 2nd half after throwing a pick and fumbling on a sack in the 1st half, and finished with 44 yards rushing on 11 carries and went 17-for-30 passing for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Flashes move to 2-3 (1-1) and now will face NIU next week in a "Dri vs Lynch" homecoming match-up.
As for the Broncos, things are quickly getting worse.
Brian Fields ran for 106 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, but that about all of the good.
Tyler Van Tubbergen, in a game without his top wide-receiver this year Core Davis, finished 11-for-23 for 159 yards and a touchdown, but also threw 2 interceptions, including a drive killer with a chance to tie the game up at 22 in the 3rd quarter. His top two targets, Kendrick Roberts and Josh Schaffer, finished with 4 catches each and had 73 yards and 39 yards and a touchdown respectively.
They are now 0-5 (0-1) and have 3 tough games in a row (@ Toledo, vs Buffalo, vs Ball State) before hitting the easiest part of their schedule. However, they were unable to get anything going tonight offensively and have yet to consistently stop the run. Until they show any real improvement, things look like they will be tough in the coming weeks for Bronco fans.
Welcome back Dri Archer, we missed you!
The dynamic do-it-all guy for the Golden Flashes has 98 yards and a 31-yard receiving touchdown on just 7 touches and has been the main difference in this game.
Archer has had some help too!
Trayion Durham has 45 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, and Colin Reardon has 16 yards on 6 carries to go with a decent passing performance of 8-for-13 for 84 yards and touchdown. He did throw an interception late in the half trying to get a touchdown on a deep ball.
Meanwhile, the Broncos haven't been all that bad, but haven't looked too great.
Brian Fields and Dareyon Chance have paced the Bronco rushing attack to the tune of 12 carries for 50 yards and 4 carries for 16 yards respectively with Fields getting the lone Bronco touchdown. Tyler Van Tubbergen has been alright, throwing just 6 passes and completing 3 of them for 43 yards.
The Broncos have gone three-and-out 3 times on 7 drives, but haven't turned the ball over. The Golden Flashes have missed a field goal, fumbled the ball on a sack-fumble by Bronco freshman Edward Rolle (which led to the Bronco touchdown), and have thrown an interception. So in all, it looks like it could be worse for the Broncos.
Still, Roosevelt Nix and company have played tough and limited the Bronco offense. Archer and Company are moving the ball well. But it is still just 15-7 Kent State, so anything can happen.
This game was never even close. From the beginning NC State showed it was the superior team over Central Michigan, cruising to a 48-14 victory.
After being shutout for the first three quarters the Chippewas finally managed to score some points at the start of the fourth. Four seconds into the fourth quarter Cooper Rush hooked up with Titus Davis for a 13-yard touchdown. A little more than three minutes later freshman running back Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore found the endzone on a 38-yard run. But it was too little too late.
CMU's defense allowed 483 yards and was dominated throughout the game. The Wolfpack used a running back by committee system that pummeled the Chippewas to the tune of 239 yards and three scores. But NC State didn't just dominate CMU's defense, it won in all three facets. The 'Pack scored on a 67-yard punt return in the second quarter and picked off Rush three times, including one that was brought back 37 yards for the first touchdown of the game.
Rush continued to make costly mistakes, notching his ninth turnover in three games, and put his team in bad positions throughout the game. Saylor Lavallii didn't fare much better, as the running back mustered just 16 yards on 14 carries in today's loss.
The Ball St. Cardinals (4-1, 2-0) hung on to win the big MAC West matchup thanks to a late fourth quarter touchdown by running back Jahwan Edwards with 3:01 left in the game which sealed BSU's 31-24 win over Toledo (2-3, 1-1). The score was Edwards third on the day, and recaptured the lead for the Cardinals after David Fluellen notched things up at 24-all a few minutes earlier.
The game lived up to the hype, as both offenses put up big numbers. Toledo finished the game with 415 yards of total offense, while Ball St. edged out 463. After a scoreless third quarter, Toledo opened up the fourth with a 10-yard pass from Terrance Owens to Alonzo Russell which notched the game at 17-17. Over the final 14 minutes, the lead changed two more times as both squads traded blows back and forth.
With 12:11 left Keith Wenning topped off a 2:37 yards drive with a rushing touchdown, his only score of the day. A few drives later Fluellen struck, and then Edwards capped the game off.
Wenning finished the game with 335 yards, 0 passing touchdowns and one interception. Edwards had three scores, on 20 carries for 89 yards. Willie Snead had another monster game hauling in seven passes for 131 yards, and fellow wideout's Jamill Smith and Javond Williams finished with 99 and 92 yards receiving respectively.
For the Rockets Owens finished with 274 yards passing, 1 touchdown and a pick. Fluellen added 129 yards on 27 carries and had one score, that game tying touchdown late in the fourth. Russell led the Toledo receiving core with 147 yards and a touchdown on nine catches.
In a game eerily similar to the one these two teams played last year, Bowling Green fell behind early but dominated Akron in the second half to earn a double-digit victory.
Today, the Falcons fell behind 14-3 after one quarter of play but outscored Akron 28-0 after that point. Twenty-one of those points came in the second half, as BGSU once again showed a killer instinct that they also exhibited against Tulsa and Kent State.
Akron earned 134 yards in the first quarter but managed just 162 after that point. Meanwhile, the Falcons had only 66 first-quarter yards but racked up 330 during the final three quarters. After a slow start on the ground, BGSU earned 167 rushing yards and held the Zips to just 97. And once again, the Falcons won the battle of efficiency; they held the ball for over 36 minutes and went 9-for-14 on third down plays. They were also 4-for-4 in meaningful red-zone opportunities. Their only red-zone "failure" came on the final drive of the game, when they intentionally ran out the clock.
Jawon Chisholm was Akron's leading rusher but had just 28 yards on nine carries. Kyle Pohl completed 22 of his 37 passes but those went for only 199 yards. L.T. Smith had five catches for 85 yards but only four for 34 outside of his 51-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Zach D'Orazio had just three catches for the Zips.
BGSU's Matt Johnson again played as well as anyone could possibly expect. He was not sacked in the second half after being sacked six times in the first 30 minutes. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 229 yards and did not turn the ball over while throwing two touchdowns. Travis Greene led all runners with 24 carries and 142 yards plus a touchdown. He also had four catches for 71 yards and another score. Shaun Joplin led the receivers with five catches, 78 yards and a TD.
Akron drops to 1-4 on the season (0-1 MAC) and will host Ohio next Saturday at 2:00 p.m. on ESPN3. Bowling Green improves to 4-1 (2-0 MAC) and will host Massachusetts next Saturday for homecoming. Game time is 3:30 p.m., and it will also be on ESPN3.
Halftime update: NC State leads 35-0
Thirty minutes into Akron's Mid-American Conference opener, the Zips have done nothing to give the impression that they're going away. Today, they dominated first quarter play and jumped out to a 14-3 lead. At halftime, the lead has shrunk, but the Zips cling to a 14-10 edge.
Only one problem -- Akron quarterback Kyle Pohl was injured on the next-to-last play of the half. On a third down pass, he took a shot from BGSU's rush and was on the ground for a couple of minutes. We're not sure what the issue is at the moment, but we'll give another update as soon as we have the latest.
Akron outgained the Falcons 199-158, but BGSU had a 92-65 edge in the second quarter. Pohl is 15-for-23 with 140 yards and one touchdown, although the Falcons missed a golden opportunity on the first pass of the game when a gimme pick-six was dropped. Pohl also leads the Zips with 19 yards on four carries. Jawon Chisholm has 17 yards on six carries.
Zach D'Orazio was held to just one catch for seven yards, but that slack was taken by L.T. Smith, who produced three catches for 75 yards (and a touchdown). In all, eight players caught passes for Akron in the first half.
Matt Johnson was just 7-for-13 with 76 yards and a touchdown in the first half. Shaun Joplin caught the touchdown pass and leads the Falcons with three catches and 49 yards. Travis Greene leads all rushers with 95 yards on ten carries. Johnson is also credited with nine carries but has lost a net total of 20 yards; he was sacked several times in the first half. C.J. James has three and Albert Presley has two for Akron.
Pohl is back on the field and started the second half.
The Northern Illinois Huskies entered today;s matchup a two point favorite over the Purdue Boilermakers, but by the time it was all over, showed they were the clear cut favorite, winning 55-24. The victory keeps the Huskies undefeated and makes them the first MAC team to beat two B1G teams in the same regular season.
From the start NIU's was efficient. On offense Jordan Lynch threw fro three touchdowns in the first half on a near perfect outing. He finished the game with four scores (3 in the air, and 1 rushing) and had 242 total yards. The offense as a whole was scoring at will, while putting up 402 yards of offense.
Defensively, despite allowing 524 yards, NIU looked much improved after opening its season with three close games. The Huskies returned an interception for a touchdown, and consistently kept the Boilermakers out of the endzone en route to a 31-point margin of victory; tied for the largest margin of victory a MAC school has had over a B1G school ever.
From offense, to defense, to special teams, NIU looked much more like the team that crashed the BCS a season ago, than they had so far this season. With the win, the Huskies improve to 4-0 on the season and appear well on their way to another big season.
Another week, another big loss for the Miami RedHawks. But if ever in the history of football a 36-point loss could be considered progress over a 14-point loss a week before, today's 'Hawks performance was just that.
The RedHawks were awful in the first half of the game. Netting just 104 yards of offense and 1 completed pass. But head coach Don Treadwell opened up the offensive playbook in the second half as Miami managed two offensive touchdowns—the first offensive scores in a nearly 200 minute offensive drought—in the second half.
One came late in the third on a 1-yard pass from Austin Boucher. The other score came early in the fourth on the RedHawks next possession, with freshman running back Grant Niemiec scampering in on a one-yard score.
Miami more than doubled its offensive output from last week, and put up more than 100 yards better than its season average, finishing with 250 yards of offense. Boucher actually had some time to make some throws—though not much—and the running game, despite averaging just 3.8 yards per attempt, looked much improved. Miami had a total of 14 first downs in the game, that's twice it's average.
The only negative, if you can even consider it a negative, from the 'Hawks moral victory was that punter Zac Murphy, who entered the game averaging 465 yards a game, finished with just 199 yards on the day.
Miami's defense still needs serious work as well. It allowed 601 yards of total offense.
NIU is rolling against Purdue. The Huskies currently lead the Boilermakers 48-17 late in the third after ANOTHER Jordan Lynch touchdown. NIU is scoring at will, as evidenced by the Huskies first play of the second half.
Northern Illinois' return man TommyLee Lewis took the opening kickoff of the second half back 99-yards to put NIU up 34-10. He weaved his way up the middle before sprinting, untouched, down the left side of the field a full 10-yards in front of the closest defender for his fourth career kickoff return for a touchdown.
The Miami RedHawks are off to a much better second half. They still trail by 36 points, but for the first time in 12 quarters they've managed to score an offensive touchdown. It had been 195 minutes and 44 seconds since Miami's offense had found the endzone, but with 2:16 left in the third quarter, Austin Boucher connected with Rokeem Williams on 4th and goal from the one-yard line to end the streak.
There was some controversy as to whether or not Williams had possession of the ball, as it was knocked out of his hands while he was bobbling it, but after a review, the officials confirmed the touchdown.
Miami still trails Illinois 43-7, but it's all about baby steps for the FBS's worst offense.
Northern Illinois entered today's game a 2-point favorite over the Boilermakers. Through two quarters the Huskies are showing that that might have been a bit conservative.
Jordan Lynch has been near perfect. He's thrown for three touchdowns and 195 yards on an eye-popping 16-of-20 passing. While NIU isn't running the ball nearly as effectively as it did last week (just 51 yards in this game so far) it doesn't need too. The Huskies longest drive took just 3 minutes and 24 seconds and ended with a 48-yard Matthew Sims field goal with 12:10 to go in the first quarter. That was their first drive of the game, since then they've scored on every drive but one, with possessions of, 2:03, 2:46, 2:06, and :38. Lynch and the offense have been so efficient that eight different Northern Illinois' receivers have caught a pass in the first half.
NIU is showing B1G fans what MACtion is all about, and with little fight from Purdue. The Huskies defense has shut down the Boilermakers, despite giving up 280 yards (which is more than NIU's quick-strike offense has managed so far). The defense is smothering, taking an effective bend-but-don't break approach, and has forced three turnovers so far. Since giving up a touchdown with 6:13 to go, NIU held Purdue scoreless until three seconds before half when the Boilermakers knocked through a 47-yard field goal.
Things have gotten so bad for Purdue that head coach Darrell Hazell turned to freshman quarterback Danny Etling, pulling him out of redshirt.
Miami Football is doing Miami Football type things already. #MACtion— FakeGuyMAC (@FakeGuyMAC) September 28, 2013
Miami is playing poorly against Illinois. Not that this surprises anyone. The RedHawks entered the game as one of the worst defenses in college football, allowing 486 yards and 35 points per game. Through one half, they are well ontheir way to matching those numbers and some. They've allowed 394 yards, and trail 36-0 at halftime.
In seven offensive possessions, the Fighting Illini has scored five touchdowns, all on passing touchdowns from quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. An interception ended one Illinois drive and a missed field goal just before halftime ended the other, but besides those two mistakes, Illinois and offensive coordinator Bill Cubit have had little issues moving the ball.
Conversely Miami's offense is anemic. Through one half, the RedHawks have completed one pass. One. A 21 yard throw from Austin Boucher to Fred McRae. The 'Hawks read option offense continues to struggle and after some initial success (4 first downs in the first quarter) they've slipped back into their woeful ways.
At half they have 104 total offensive yards, compared to 138 yards by Miami punter Zac Murphy. The defense is playing equally as bad, as evidenced by the stats.
Join us as we discuss the MAC West heavyweight bout between Toledo and Ball St.
Week 5 of MAC Football season is here. With Fall knocking on the door, conference season is picking up as two of the MAC's best face off this week, along with a bevy of other games to fulfill your MACtion addiction.
Can Cooper Rush and the Chippewas get things back on track and find their winning ways down south against a mid-tier NC State Wolfpack Saturday?
In honor of the tragic death of Cincinnati freshman offensive lineman Ben Flick the Broncos will wear a Cincinnati decal on the back of their helmets this weekend.
The Buffalo Bulls of New York State at Buffalo in Upstate New York but still in Buffalo, or whatever they're calling themselves these days, welcome UConn to town tomorrow. We chatted with The UConn Blog to scout the opposition.
Toledo and Ball State both look to move one step closer to a MAC championship when the teams clash in Muncie on Saturday.
The Zips showed some unexpected mettle in their previous two games, but their first MAC contest will test that mettle further. Can Akron slow down a Falcon offense that is averaging over 500 yards and just 1 turnover per game? If not, everything else is probably moot.
CMU freshman quarterback Cooper Rush has been educated in the art of quarterbacking over the last three weeks. But his progress has been slowed by recent poor performances punctuated by fumbles and key interceptions.
Leading up to the NIU Purdue game this weekend, Hustle Belt caught up with Travis Miller of the Purdue blog Hammer and Rails.
Western Michigan University coach PJ Fleck leads the conference in slogans, mantra's, symbols and... 'er losses.
The Huskies look to stay undefeated as they take on Purdue, their second B1G opponent this year
Rather than boring you with more statistics about how awful Miami's offense has been, we decided to do a little pre-game scouting on the opposition.
Looking to capitalize on a winning week, and make your bookie hate you
The All-American could return to action this week after missing most of the season due to a sprained ankle.
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